Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.
“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf
“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt
Friday, May 29, 2009
An Awe-inspiring Memoir
Before I get into why this is a "must read," in my humble opinion, I want to tell you how I discovered this book. I belong to several internet writing groups, one of which is Story Circle Network. When I received a negative review from a blogger, I wrote to the SCNlifewriters group asking for advice on how to handle it. Heather's response was thoughtful, kind and generous. I immediately went to Amazon.com to order her book. The online community of writers supporting writers is something I wouldn't have believed possible if I hadn't experienced it myself.
My intention here is not to write a book review for Heather. Rather, I want to acknowledge, as one memoir writer to another, the extraordinary feat Heather has accomplished by putting this story out in the world. It took her 20 years to complete this project (please visit womensmemoirs for a fascinating interview with Heather). It is the story of a family's struggle to deal with having not one, but two children diagnosed with a fatal illness. It is a story of love, anger, the losing and finding of one's faith, and the harsh realities coping with a disease like cystic fibrosis imposes, physically, emotionally, and spiritually on both the one with the disease, and the ones who love them.
Despite knowing the outcome of the story from page one, it is nonetheless compelling and page-turning. It reads like a novel, which was Heather's intention. She succeeded brilliantly. This is some of the best writing I've seen, in both fiction and memoir. From a craft standpoint, the characters are rounded, the language lyrical, the use of metaphor and description extraordinary, and the blend of narrative and reflection is seamless and balanced.
My take away from reading this book, and the main reason I think everyone should read it: Pammy knew from the time she was diagnosed at four years old that she was going to die. From that, through Heather's telling of her story, we learn how to live. This is one of those books that I do believe will change my life, if I can manage to inhale Pammy's words of wisdom.